History of armoured vehicles
A war land vehicle needs to be strong enough to resist firearms and collision while in motion and that's why we have the armour tank for fighting war made out of strong materials. In Nigeria, some war vehicles used to fight in the Biafra war are kept as relics at Museums till date. There was also a need for cars that are armoured just to protect lives and properties while in transit in case of an attack. This is why we have Armored cars, inspired by military vehicles.
AJBAN LRSOV special military vehicle
The first non-military armoured vehicle was the 1910 Bellamore Armored Motor Bank Car. In 1930, Pope Pius XI received a Mercedes-Benz Nurburg 460 as a present from Daimler-Benz for being the first petrol head Pope. This car was armoured for the Pope to resist firearm attacks.
The Popes mobile Nurgburg 460
There are several types of armoured cars from armoured sedans/SUVs, to armoured vans/trucks. For today, I am looking into armoured cash transport cars aka bullion vans in Nigeria.
What are bullion vans?
There is a popular MI Bullion Van song performed by Phyno ft Runtown that gave bullion van meaning to Nigerians. It made everyone understand that bullion vans are armoured motor vehicles in the form of vans used to transport money from one location to another. This is why the vans are generally referred to as armoured cash transport cars.
INKAS armoured cash transport van
They are built on platforms of vans/trucks with special materials that make them heavier and bulkier than regular vans/trucks to resist heat, collisions, and firearms. The vans usually have access control in place. Like the absence of door handles and windows, number codes to open doors and other measures that make sure the public is restricted from the van.
Who uses bullion vans?
Bullion vans have a wide range of applications across different service industries with the primary purpose being the movement of valuables to different locations.
Industries that use bullion vans:
- Financial industry of Nigeria
Armoured vans aka security vans are used to transport money in form of cash safely to where it is needed. This type of transportation means benefits financial institutions because it assures them that their money is in safe hands while in transit.
Obviously too much money in the van
- Education industry of Nigeria
Answer sheets of terminal examinations organized by the government are transported to the location of marking by security vans. This terminates a case of missing scripts of candidates. Also, tertiary institutions use these armoured cars to transport funds and school fees paid to the institution at the beginning of new sessions.
Not just money can be transported in the van
- The jewellery industry in Nigeria
Jewellers use bullion vans a lot to transport their stock from the vault in their stores to houses of customers.
What is inside a bullion van?
A bullion van sits a maximum of three persons in the driver cabin and it has the cargo compartment fully separated by an armoured wall. In most security vehicles, the driver cabin has no access to the cargo compartment for security reasons.
Only space for two
The cargo compartment is always fully armoured. All the windows are bulletproof against handguns and rifles. The cargo could be equipped with a rack/cabinet/shelf to stack the money and valuables it transports.
Empty bullion van cargo
There is usually one or two guards escorting the driver in the front compartment. The guard(s) are usually trained to open/close the cargo compartment in the fastest time and also offload contents of the van skillfully.
Driver and guards of a security van in Nigeria (Source: Bemil)
Sometimes, the guards may be armed after going through firearms training just to resist all forms of attacks while the van is in transit. I was surprised to discover that armed robbers still attack bullion vans with all the security. Watch this armored cash transit vehicle robbery below:
What is different about driving bullion vans?
Most armoured vans have bad outward visibility because of how the windshields are placed on the vans. Some even have windshields protected by metal bars to avoid a head-on fire assault into the driver compartment. It can also have bullbar bumpers (metallic bumpers) in case the vans need to ram an obstacle under an attack.
They don't use special engines anyway, which makes them drive very slow. These vans are not meant to speed.
One can barely see through from inside the van
The vans are also heavier than regular vans so it has very bad handling because of the weight. Driving the van requires a lot of speed control to avoid tumbling. Security van drivers go through special training before their assignment.
Inexperienced driver or mistake?
Even regular armoured luxury cars like Ex-Nigerian Senator's ₦720,000,000 G-Wagon & Toyota Land-Cruiser are very difficult to handle because of the weight.
Where to get bullion vans?
Bullion vans cannot be bought by private individuals. Legally, only security allied companies have the right to own and operate bullion vans in Nigeria. Anybody that needs the services of an armoured wheeled vehicle in Nigeria has to pay for the services of security companies.
The bullion van Tinubu of Lagos uses to transport money to his Bourdillon residence whenever he does cash giveaway to people is operated by a security company in Lagos. You just have to pay for their services for a specified trip. You can also build bullion vans from regular trucks/vans.
Tinubu's money in the van
Prices of bullion vans
Bullion van prices range between ₦40,000 - ₦120,000 depending on the brand and the level of armoured protection. You can check out bullion vans for sale online or ask your local car dealer for information on dealers of bullion vans in Nigeria.
I was surprised to find out that there are Nigerian companies that specialize in building armoured vehicles for the military. You can go to companies like this and build armoured vans from regular vans like the Ford E350 Van, Toyota Hilux, Benz Sprinter, GMC Savana etc. can be converted to armoured cash transport vans.
This van can be converted to an armoured van
>>> You might also like to read: President Buhari commissions Made-in-Nigeria armoured vehicles in Kaduna.
Are bullion vans emergency vehicles?
In Nigeria, bullion vans breeze through traffic and drive like the law doesn't apply to them. While we see some driving like every other normal car on the road. There are different levels to the bullion vans we see on the road.
CBN Bullion van with a police escort
Most governmental-purpose cash transport vans are emergency vehicles and some are even escorted with military vans. These ones have the right to break traffic rules just like an ambulance. Regular bank and other institution's bullion vans are to drive normally and abide by every traffic law and regulations.
When you have a lot of cash or valuables, and you need to move them by road, to avoid any form of heist, you can look into employing services of security vehicles for maximum safety. Somehow these bullion vans in Nigeria are used as a means of showing off the wealth of affluent people. Naijauto.com wish we can witness more vehicles this type on the Nigerian roads.
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